It’s a long time since representatives of the American, British, French and Swedish spill control associations (SCAA, BOSCA, SYCOPOL and SWEMARPOL) first met in 1983 at San Antonio to discuss the formation of ISCO.  The organisation was incorporated in London the following year as a not-for-profit international organisation with clearly defined objectives which included promotion of international co-operation and practical support for OPRC and other relevant IMO conventions. Further meetings took place over the following years at various locations including Aberdeen, London,

Tampa, Valetta, and Long Beach. Practical outcomes included positive contributions to international co-operation during the Exxon Valdez spill (1989) and Gulf War pollution (1991).

In those days, ISCO membership was restricted to Trade Associations representing private sector companies. This was later seen as incompatible with the recognition that the fulfilment of ISCO’s objectives depended on involvement of both public and private sectors working together in a co-operative way. These considerations led in 2005 to the re-launch of ISCO with an amended constitution. Membership of ISCO was opened up to all entities, public and private, with a legitimate interest in furthering the objectives of the organisation. Another positive impact was that the cost of joining ISCO became more affordable, with especially low fees for smaller companies, government and academic organisations, individuals and students.

Today, ISCO is recognised as the only global organisation that is dedicated to members of the broader international spill response community.


Currently, ISCO has members in thirty-three countries and is continuing to grow. Through its meetings, website, and newsletter the organisation provides significant benefits to its members. In addition to being part of a worldwide community of professionals that share a common interest, members are kept up to date on events, developing technologies, legislation, new trends and directions, and other items of mutual interest. They are alerted to opportunities for providing new products and services necessary for implementing legislation and meeting new challenges. ISCO promotes international co-operation and, through its network of members, assists governments and others by providing a rapid route for accessing and mobilising international support in any major pollution event. Most importantly, ISCO is a source of practical help in building response capacity and enhancing professional competency.




Response contractors and others that can contribute information to assist the OPRC-HNS Working Group can now download the information gathering templates. Simply go to the ISCO website at and select DOWNLOADS from the menu on the left hand side of the page.  Your contribution will be acknowledged and it’s an opportunity for you to raise your profile. We need to know who out there has the know-how and experience. Don’t hide your light under a bushel ! 

Newsletter Subscription

Newsletter subscription

Download the latest Newsletters